Blake Grupe

Saints Not Planning To Replace K Blake Grupe

With rookie kicker Blake Grupe continuing to struggle, some pundits have wondered if the Saints could make a change at the position. However, coach Dennis Allen gave his kicker a vote of confidence this week.

Per Josh Alper of, Allen explained to reporters that he’s seen plenty of rookie kickers struggle before ultimately figuring it out. The coach also noted that the Saints haven’t auditioned potential replacements.

Of course, the Saints aren’t necessarily willing to tolerate Grupe’s growing pains for the rest of the 2023 campaign. While the team is giving the rookie time to break out of his slump, they’re also not going to give the player endless opportunities to do so.

“This is a grown man’s league,” Allen said. “We’re not worried about anybody’s feelings right now. Blake’s got a job to do, he’s got to kick it through the posts, and he understands that. It’s the whole operation. There’s a lot of things that go into it. . . . We’ve got confidence in Blake, but yet you have to evaluate those things. You have to pay attention to it.”

Grupe got off to a hot start, connecting on 11 of his first 12 field goal attempts in the NFL. However, he’s taken a step back over the past month, converting only seven of his 11 attempts over his last four games. Only two of those four misses came from beyond the 50 yard line.

Of course, there’s plenty of reason to stick with the rookie. He clearly doesn’t have the yips, as Grupe has connected on all 19 of his extra point tries. Further, despite going undrafted in this year’s draft, he had a productive college career, connecting on 78 field goals across five seasons with Arkansas State and Notre Dame. The rookie won a kicking competition during the preseason over veteran Wil Lutz, who spent the previous seven seasons as New Orleans’ kicker.

Saints Announce 11-Man UDFA Class

The Saints have announced an 11-man UDFA class after drafting seven players over the course of the last three days. Here are the undrafted talents who will begin their pursuit of an NFL job with New Orleans:

Two of the above players, Davis and Orji, received guarantees in excess of $200K, as Greg Auman of FOX Sports tweets.

Davis has the size (6-5, 217 lbs.) and length that could allow him to find success in the pros, and he showed off serious big-play ability at the collegiate level, averaging roughly 20.4 yards per catch over four years at South Carolina State. That included 45 catches for 934 yards and 11 TDs in 2022.

That production, however, came against FCS competition. While the size of Davis’ guarantee indicates he was a priority signing, there are elements of his game — like his issue with drops — that he will need to clean up in order to have a shot at cracking the roster.

Orji, meanwhile, was a three-year starter for the SEC’s Commodores, as well as a team captain. Despite averaging nearly 100 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, he also missed a lot of tackles and does not have the speed that would make him an elite defender in today’s NFL. Still, there was a chance that he would hear his name called on Day 3 of the draft, and he should have a decent chance of sticking as a backup defender or special teamer.